The eminent British historian is uniquely well-qualified to present a concise history of WWI. Among his previous titles are The Hapsburg Monarchy, Bismarck, and The Course of German History. It starts with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo and ends with the a survey of the social unrest that beset every government that had taken part in the ""War to end all war"". Mr. Taylor's account of the fighting includes not only the carnage of the battlefields, but the power plays of the military and their political opposite numbers over the conduct of the war, as well as the international jockeying of the peacemakers. The author, a noted controversialist, brings an analytical/critical approach to the facts that is not commonly found in short histories. The generals and the politicians are ticked off for evidences of overweening ambition and ineptitude. That the allied urge to territorial conquest made uncomfortable bedfellow with the high ideals held out to spur the citizenry is a major point in a book of many contrasts: blameless generals and the underlings they blamed; new equipment used in out-moded strategies; allied soldiers fighting mud more often than men. The text is further enhanced with battlemaps and many black and white photographs, many of which have never been published before.